Tongerlo Prior Tripel (9%, 33 cl)

The Tongerlo beers are brewed by brewery Haacht, and they are doing so since 1990 (when they got the rights to this Abbey beer). I’m sad to report that a few years ago, brewery Haacht, in all its infinite wisdom, have decided to delete Tongerlo Tripel. That’s a sad thing since I really liked that one. To make up for it, they replaced it with another Tripel. It’s called Tongerlo Prior Tripel and the golden-yellow label is replaced by a brooding black one. Tongerlo Prior Tripel is made with Saaz hops and, compared with the old Tripel ,a new kind of yeast. They also upped the ABV from 8% to 9%. This beer is fermented (additionally in the bottle) and the brewery advises to pour the yeast depot in your glass for a bigger and bolder flavor, but it’s also possible to leave the depot in the bottle with a small amount of beer to be consumed separately. Advised drinking temperature is 7º C.

Even this new Tripel got the chance to age for 2,5 years after it’s best before date. You may think I’m mad, but with most Belgian beers it only adds to the character, don’t worry you, won’t get sick. Breweries are obliged to put a short-term on the label, but are starting to add the bottling date. Frank Boon decided to stretch the best before date far beyond the standard three years and easily puts best before dates twenty years into the future!

Tongerlo Prior TripelColor: Orange yellow with some flakes (due to ageing). Almost white foam.

Nose: Fresh and half-yeasty. Citrus acidity. Warm lemon curd. Linen and again some yeast. Pretty straightforward.

Taste: Estery and half bitter. Orange peel. The whole is quite warming. The whole taste seems a bit toned down, but when taken in a big gulp, it becomes quite chewy and gains a lot of character. An explosion of flavor so to speak. Nice, and not overly acidic. Lemon and oranges. Very fresh at first, but that fades into a heavy, syrupy sweetness. I would call this a winter warmer. Excellent stuff by the way.

I love tripels and this one (again) fits the bill. Compared to Westmalle Tripel this has less of the orange skins and definitely is less bitter. Candied sugar sweetness. I really don’t get the point why the Original tripel was replaced with this one. Although this one is also very nice, the original tripel was (very) different and could have easily kept its place under the stars. The original Tripel was quite fresh and appealing, this Prior is more warming en deeper. It’s like night and day, like summer and winter. They got the labels right too, summery yellow and deep as night black…

Points: 85